Here's to the Men is a Margovyan television series about an alternate version of the Margovyan Revolution in which a Margovia which hasn't been invaded and occupied by the Russian imperialists is in the midst of a civil war after a group of colonels decided to rebel against the ruling junta which took over from Chief Minister Julio Soledad back in 1891. Anastas Karpov and Pristina Quarimova developed the series for MNBN through detailed studies of Margovyan history pre-Russian imperialism and is the first and most successful show in what would eventually become Karpov's An Alternate History of Margovia universe. Here's to the Men directly spawned two movies: Final Victory in 2012 depicting the last days of the alternate Margovian Revolution and The Chaco War, announced in 2016 and slated for release in 2017, to depict Margovia's involvement in the Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay. Here's to the Men could also be considered as an expansion of the TV series El Cuatro Colores, which depicts the whole of Margovian history beyond the "point of divergence" of Tsar Alexander III of Russia forgoing an invasion of Margovia in favor of peaceful relations with neighboring Japan and China.
The series mainly focuses on the perspective of Tadeo Flamini, played by Khristo Morozov who played the "Margovyan" version of the character, Faddey Flamanov, in the critically acclaimed film La Revolucion de Margovya through his days as a soldier for the Alliance to Restore Democracy to the Margovian Republic (or the Democratic Alliance for short), the armies and soldiers fighting for the colonels who wished to depose the ruling junta of Margovia.
The first season's episodes began with an opening narration by Tadeo Flamini, who says that "This isn't the Margovyan Revolution that you know. In fact, this isn't even the Margovya that you know. This is a Margovia in which the Russians didn't sully our land and our blood with their imperialism, their culture, and their blood. This is a Margovia which remained true to its Spanish heritage, but even remaining true to our roots will not change the destiny of our nation. This is the story of the men and women who fought in a revolution to free the nation of Margovia from the yoke of dictatorship. This may not be the story you know, but it is still our story, and this is also your story." This narration was included in the first episode of the second season but was dropped after that and didn't return until the end of the final episode of the series as a whole.
Flamini, a listless young man who had been out of school ever since the Margovian Revolution broke out when a group of colonels and other staff officers led by Basilio Agbayani declared a revolution against the ruling junta led by Eleuterio Elizalde, successor to Telesforo Jimenez who overthrew the government of Chief Minister Julio Soledad thirty years prior to establish the Military Republic of Margovia. Agbayani's movement, the Democratic Alliance, is recruiting able-bodied men all over the country to fight for his armies against the junta, which is also recruiting its own men for its own armies. Flamini accepts the offer by Alliance recruiter Major Luis Octavio Menezes to join the Alliance army and fight for a democratic Margovia and enlists, becoming part of the Estudiantes battalion under Menezes' direct command. There he joins an infantry squad led by Sergeant Buenaventura and Corporal Robles, a tenant farmer and a son of a landowner respectively whose statuses have made a 180-degree turn following their enlistment into the Alliance armies who constantly squabble about how to carry out their orders. Flamini's other squadmates are fellow delinquent student Private Zapata, the non-gendered Private Barton from Newfoundland, woman soldier Private Vosotros and, in the last year of the revolution, the 12-year-old Private San Sebastian. Together, the squad, the Estudiantes battalion, and the 95th Infantry Regiment "Don Victorino de Gascon's Chosen" fight the battles of the Margovian Revolution and, along the way, learn just how bad war is and how good life was before the war and hope that life will be better when the revolution finally ends.
For at least the first two seasons, the show was presented as a sitcom depicting the daily struggles of the troops to cope with the more absurd aspects of warfare. Eventually, as the series progressed, the show became more of a historical drama series as the war progressed into the bloodier aspects of the alternate Margovian Revolution. The comedy was still retained in the show but, following the example of American TV series M*A*S*H, the show did not play any laugh tracks during serious scenes such as battles and what the soldiers in the show called "trench melancholy" to maintain the balance of a serious show with moments of comedy.
The show's main characters are as follows:
- Private/Corporal/Sergeant Tadeo Flamini (Khristo Morozov), a delinquent student and runaway who is conscripted into the armies of the Democratic Alliance and finds a new home in the Army and makes new friends with his fellow conscripts, volunteers, and soldiers. Throughout the series, Flamini gains promotions of rank from private to corporal to sergeant and will be promoted to first lieutenant by the events of The Chaco War.
- Major/Lieutenant Colonel Luis Octavio Menezes (Polikarp Chakulakov), recruiter and conscriptor of the 95th Infantry Regiment "Don Victorino de Gascon's Chosen" and commander of the Estudiantes Battalion of the aforementioned regiment. Menezes' main purpose in recruitment was to gather all the indigent and indolent runaways of the province and city of Gascon (Gaskoniyov, now Ikulsk) and turn them into productive members of society and the Democratic armies, but because of the massive casualties sustained throughout the revolution, Menezes often has no choice but to take any and all comers to the armies, including underage children, women, and old men, a decision which often troubles Menezes' conscience.
- Private Samuel Zapata (Ustin Kubasov), another delinquent who is forced into the army and the Margovian Revolution by the Democratic Alliance's tireless recruiters. Zapata becomes Flamini's first friend in the army and would end up becoming his most loyal friend, saving Flamini's life, the life of the battalion and even of the whole regiment a number of times. Despite his heroic actions and receiving the Republican Medal of Honor, Zapata decides to remain as a lowly private until the end of the revolution, although it has been confirmed that Zapata will be promoted to sergeant by the time of the events of The Chaco War.
- Sergeant Rodrigo Buenaventura (Boris Antonov), the commander of Flamini and Zapata's squad when they first join the Democratic Army and a stern but fair leader of his men who will follow his orders but not when it will result in the needless deaths of his men. This sets him at odds with some of the other soldiers and commanders who wouldn't hesitate to sacrifice themselves and their men to help win the revolution for the Democratic Alliance but Buenaventura knows that he is in the right and will not budge from his convictions and morals.
- Corporal Josue Robles (Vladislav Nenadovic), Buenaventura's second-in-command who doesn't necessarily share his sergeant's views about not charging headlong at the enemy despite the odds that everyone could die because of such an action, but most of the conflict between Robles and Buenaventura stem from the fact that before the revolution, Robles was the son of landowners and Buenaventura one of the many indigent farmers tilling the plantations and the dynamic between them has been forced to shift due to the revolution.
- Captain Juan Ramon Polavieja (Martin Movchovsky), Major Menezes' deputy and the man mostly responsible for keeping the soldiers in line. Polavieja expects the battalion's men to step up to his high standards and criticizes and sometimes punishes those who do not follow the standard but he says that a high standard of professionalism and training would make all the difference in a battle against the junta's armies.
- Lieutenant Luisa Steiner (Tatiana Avorkina), one of the army nurses affiliated with the Don Victorino's Chosen Regiment and love interest of most of the Estudiantes battalion (for the duration of the first season, at least) and, unknown to her, some of her fellow nurses; eventually, only Zapata and Polavieja continue to court Steiner. She often serves as the straight man for the sequences involving the nurses as well as the level-headed woman among all the testosterone-filled soldiers.
- Private/Corporal Jan Barton (Tatiana Vinogradova), perhaps the most unique soldier to ever serve in the Margovian Revolution. Barton is claimed by some sources to be the first ever historical person to identify as genderqueer or non-binary and, as Yan Barton, famously served in the Margovyan Triangle before becoming a decorated soldier for the Margovyan revolutionaries. In this timeline, they came down to Margovia from their native Newfoundland in search of adventure and joins up with the Democratic armies after they decide that the Democratic Alliance has a better chance at victory. Their non-traditional gender identification serves as the punch line of the soldiers for their first few appearances but after they prove themselves in battle, they are slowly accepted as one of the battalion's and regiment's own.
- Private/Corporal Maria Elena Vosotros (Klaudia Glaser), one of two women who find their way into the ranks of the Don Victorino's Chosen Regiment after the manpower shortage in Margovia forces the Democratic Alliance's recruiters to accept a number of women into the army. Menezes and Vosotros strike a deal in which Vosotros' enlistment papers will state that she is a male despite every other detail remaining unchanged. Vosotros, like Barton, is initially the subject of scorn and ridicule in the battalion due to her gender but, just like Barton, she also proves herself in battle and becomes an important member of the battalion in the end.
- Private Orlando "Lando" San Sebastian (Aleksey Elemat), one of the youngest ever soldiers to take part in the Margovian Revolution even though he only enlisted with the Don Victorino's Chosen for the last few months of the revolution. Like Vosotros and other women and underage children who enlisted before him, San Sebastian and Menezes come to an agreement in which Menezes would fudge up San Sebastian's records and present him as a 35-year-old man with three children so he would be accepted into the Army. San Sebastian's arrival into the battalion late in the war immediately sets him apart as the "new kid" among the "old breed" and his idealism and optimism about winning the war clashes with the jadedness and cynicism of the rest of the battalion but his presence will serve as a breath of fresh air for the battalion as the revolution draws to a close.
These are the show's recurring characters:
- Sergeant Manuel Iñiguez (Arbat Chomsky), commander of another squad of the Estudiantes and rival of Sergeant Buenaventura.
- Corporal Rodolfo Buendia (Iosef Birsakov), Iñiguez's second-in-command.
- First Lieutenant Ciriaco Moreno (Lev Arigov), a recruiter for the 84th Infantry Regiment of the Democratic Alliance and a recruiter rival of Major Menezes, but despite being rival recruiters, Moreno is seemingly more interested in bedding women and basically freeloading on the people of Margovia due to his status as a recruiter, although Moreno's true colors is revealed when he bravely leads an Alliance charge against junta machine gun positions. Moreno's background and character is based on Arigov's character Kiril Morenov in the film La Revolucion de Margovya.
- Staff Sergeant Edilberto Cuadrado (Mark Vizinsky), a long-time servant of the Margovian Army who sided with the Democrats after years of faithful service to the junta's armies because his family wanted members serving in both sides in case one or the other won. Cuadrado is descended from a long line of Margovian war heroes starting from Redentor Cuadrado, who was part of the rifle company led by Major Alejandro Arevalo in capturing Iquitos during the Margovian-Peruvian War of 1830-32 and feels the pressure of trying to live up to the family name and also creating his own legacy at the same time. He occasionally takes over Sergeant Buenaventura's squad during a few key offensives against the junta.
- Master Sergeant Leonidas Reyes (Ivan Maryanov), a member of the tactical and war planning staff of the Don Victorino's Chosen Regiment. Reyes and Cuadrado have a friendly rivalry in which both compete to get promoted first with the winner being whoever becomes a comissioned officer first but underneath the rivalry, Reyes harbors an unspoken resentment to Cuadrado whom he feels is being promoted through the ranks only because of his heritage and name; nevertheless, the two are good and close friends and Reyes is noticeably distressed when Cuadrado is hit in the head by a junta sniper during the Spring Offensive of 1922.
- Sergeant Artemisia Stafylidis (Abigail Papadiamantopoulos), one of two nurses who always accompanies Steiner during her rounds throughout the battalion's positions throughout the revolution. Like Steiner, Stafylidis used to be the battalion's crush due to her tall stature and exotic heritage (being the daughter of Greek immigrants) before she accidentally reveals during a New Year's Eve party that she is actually attracted to Steiner, resulting in a sudden rise of awkwardness between commander and subordinate.
- Sergeant Wislawa Szczesny (Viktoriya Chrzanowska), the other nurse who constantly accompanies Steiner and Stafylidis on the rounds with the Estudiantes Battalion. Initially, she is the subject of attraction and eventually a quarrel between Buenaventura and Robles because of her Polish ancestry but in the same New Year's Eve party where Stafylidis accidentally and drunkenly outs herself to the battalion, Szczesny admits that she has a crush on Barton, an admission which leaves everyone even more dumbstruck than the earlier confession by Stafylidis. This results in more awkwardness between Szczesny, Buenaventura, Robles, and Barton.
- Sergeant Nathaniel Abuco (Ravil Yanenko), a seemingly quiet and unassuming soldier of the Estudiantes who is eventually revealed to be a spy for the junta feeding information on Alliance positions and movements to the government. Although his espionage for the junta is revealed, the battalion then elects to keep Abuco alive and use him to feed misinformation to the junta. Abuco's role as the traitor to the Alliance was modeled upon Yanenko's character in La Revolucion de Margovya Anatoly Abukov.
- Colonel Basilio Agbayani (Gavril Remontadov), the elected leader of the Democratic Alliance by the founding officers of the movement and future president of Margovia.
- Colonel Juan Mariano (Gregoriy Umalin), second-in-command of the Democratic Alliance.
- Colonel Juan Arbat (Mark Tramvitumov), Minister of War of the Democratic Alliance.
- Colonel Leon Calvin (Borislav Okurev), Minister of Armaments of the Democratic Alliance.